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July 13, 2007
V 35 Issue 28

 
 
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Where It's At
John Wesley Harding stages folk noir at The Triple Door, Patty Griffin journeys to Woodland Park Zoo, Tegan and Sara double up at The Triple Door
by Albert Rodriguez and Lorelei Quenzer - SGN A&E Writers

John Wesley Harding
Tuesday, July 17 - 7:30pm
The Triple Door - $17.50-$20


If I wax a bit nostalgic about John Wesley Harding (the artist, not the Dylan tune) you'll have to forgive me, but his songs bring me back to my college days. That is, my college days as I would like to remember them - filled with clever friends and interesting chit chat - but can't, since all I basically did was go to school part time and work a nine-to-five as a tour guide-cum-secretary-cum-smart aleck.

Sigh. At least I'm still a smart aleck. You probably best know JWH for the tune "I'm Wrong About Everything," from the High Fidelity soundtrack. I, on the other hand, continue to rock around the house to songs like "The Person You Are," "Kill the Messenger" and his first hit, 1990's "The Devil In Me." If you're a novice you really need to pick up a copy of the 2001 re-release of Awake. Along with "Miss Fortune," the reissued album boasts five bonus tracks, including a duet with Bruce Springsteen ("Wreck On the Highway").

Harding, born Wesley Stace, has been known to call his style of music "folk noir" and "gangsta folk." I call it witty, ironic and literate. After finishing with a First in English Lit from Cambridge, Stace dropped out of his PhD program in Social and Political Science to become a rock... ah, I mean folk star. He's been compared to Elvis Costello ever since his first album, since he borrowed Pete & Bruce Thomas of The Attractions for his own band, The Good Liars. The comparison isn't unearned; if you're a fan of Costello and haven't yet discovered JWH you're really in for a treat.

Not only is JWH a recording star, but he's also a respected novelist under his own name. Stace's first book, Misfortune, was nominated and shortlisted for several prizes in 2005. I recall telling you back during 2005's Bumbershoot that JWH is hot, hot, hot, so if you miss him this time then I just won't know what to do with you except take you over my knee. Opening for Harding will be solo artist, singer-guitarist Alela Diane. L. Quenzer

Artist essentials: JWH's newest release, Adam's Apple (2005), witty, quirky and melodic - especially "Sluts," "Negative Love" and "It Stays." Also pick up Stace's first book, Misfortune (2005), 'though you probably won't finish this 560-page gender-bending novel of manners before his next work of fiction, By George, is released (August 22, 2007).

Patty Griffin
Wednesday, July 18 - 6pm
Woodland Park Zoo - Sold out


Patty Griffin isn't just the crème de la crème of folk artists. She's the whipped topping and cherry on top, too. This woman deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence with Johnny Cash, Steve Earle and Nickel Creek. Indeed, she has. She's twice been nominated for Grammy Awards alongside these musicians, for her recordings 1000 Kisses and Impossible Dream (SGN's Top Ten Albums/CDs, 2004). Expect Griffin to receive a third nomination in the same category when this year's Grammy nominations are announced in December for the brilliant Children Running Through, chosen by Seattle Gay News as one of 2007's best recordings thus far (June 15 issue).

Fine guitar work aside, it's Griffin's angel-sweet vocals and emotionally-fueled lyrics that has drawn considerable respect from her peers and admiration from fans. Her songs have been recorded by some of today's brightest stars, including Dixie Chicks, Bette Midler, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Martina McBride. Among Griffin's standout tracks are "Useless Desires" and the orchestra-backed ballad "Heavenly Day". Griffin has a Seattle connection, in that she's signed to the Dave Matthews-owned ATO Records. Earlier this year, she interviewed with Seattle Gay News and confirmed that "Heavenly Day" was written for her dog (Read the interview at www.sgn.org, March 16 issue).

Wednesday evening's performance at Woodland Park Zoo, part of the ZooTunes summer concert series, is completely sold out. A limited number of tickets might come available at the Zoo's box office on day of show, but there's no guarantee. Those of you with tickets, know that Griffin will go onstage around 7pm after a scheduled opening act. Gates open at 5pm, allowing you ample time to scour for food - or pick something up along the way and take it in with you. Avoid parking and traffic headaches by taking Metro bus #5 to Greenwood. A. Rodriguez

Artist essentials: "Heavenly Day" can be listened to on MySpace and YouTube.

Tegan and Sara
Wednesday-Thursday,
July 18-19
The Triple Door - $20


The last time I checked in with Tegan and Sara, twin sibling recording duo from British Columbia, we compared crushes on Brandon Flowers of The Killers. And then he walked into the room (actually it was backstage at the Moore Theatre). No shit - true story. Tegan and Sara were opening for The Killers, and I was talking with them backstage when Flowers waltzed his glam-rock bootie in. Since touring with those bad boys from Las Vegas, Tegan and Sara headlined their own US tour and went back into the recording studio to make a new album called The Con, slated for a July 24 release. At press time, I was still awaiting an advance copy.

Besides sisterhood, Tegan and Sara share a love for chicks. Yep, they're both Lesbian. They're also very adorable in-person and have wonderful senses of humor. I remember some interesting discussions over dinner once at Hattie's Hat before they performed at the Tractor Tavern years ago. For anyone unfamiliar with Tegan and Sara's music, they started out as a folk duo and progressed into an edgy pop act with radio-played hits like "Walking with a Ghost".

Even though Tegan and Sara just announced a December concert at The Showbox, I recommend seeing them in a more intimate space, The Triple Door. The Canadian pair will play back-to-back nights at the downtown supper club on July 18-19. Visit www.thetripledoor.net to make reservations and to glance at their nouveau Thai menu. There's no obligation to drink or eat at The Triple Door - you can just pay for tickets - but with appetizers and entrees prepared upstairs by Wild Ginger, I suggest making it an evening of fine food and music. A. Rodriguez

Artist essentials: Check out Tegan and Sara's albums, If It Was You featuring "Living Room" and "Monday, Monday, Monday" and So Jealous featuring "Walking with a Ghost".

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